Quinnipiac 80, Vermont 67

Ike Azotam’s 6th double-double of the season powered Quinnipiac to an 80-67 victory over Vermont Sunday afternoon at the Roy L Patrick Gymnasium in Burlington, VT. Azotam led all scorers with 18 points and managed to pull down 13 rebounds to earn the double-double.

The Bobcats saw five players score in double figures for the second time this year. Zaid Hearst earned his fifth double-double of the year with matching point and rebound totals of 11. Umar Shannon put up 16 points while Kasim Chandler contributed 14 points off the bench. Ousmane Drame scored 14 points to go with his 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.

After taking a 9-8 lead on an Azotam jumper less than four minutes into the game, the Bobcats never looked back. Quinnipiac pulled away over the course of the first half, taking a 41-26 lead into halftime. The lead would never fall below 8 in the second half as the Bobcats cruised to victory.

Stellar shooting both from the field and the free throw line helped Quinnipiac keep Vermont at bay for nearly the entire game. The Bobcats shot 50% from the floor for the game and made 25 of their 27 free throw attempts. The 92.6% success rate from the free throw line is their best mark since going 28-31 (90.3%) against Colgate on December 28th, 2011. Vermont entered the game giving up 1.05 points per possession, but allowed the Bobcats’ offense 1.23 PPP. Despite their defensive struggles, the Catamounts did force 10 turnovers, making this the seventh time in nine games the Bobcats have turned the ball over in double digits.

Sandro Carissimo led Vermont with 13 points while Brian Voelkel and Clancy Rugg each added 12 points of their own. Voelkel also pulled down 12 rebounds to complete the double-double while dishing out 6 assists. Luke Apfeld rounded out the scoring with 11 points as four Catamounts starters scored in double figures.

Ethan O’Day and Ryan Pierson each returned to the lineup for the Catamounts after sitting out most of the season with injuries. O’Day had been sidelined five weeks since breaking his hand in Vermont’s season-opening loss to Saint Joseph’s while Pierson broke his leg during summer workouts in July. Both players entered the game off the bench. O’Day recorded 4 points and 3 blocks in 18 minutes of play while Pierson did not register a shot in 2 minutes of action.

Quinnipiac next travels to Bethlehem, PA on Saturday December 21st to take on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks at 7 p.m.

Vincent Simone will be chronicling Quinnipiac’s move to the MAAC and helping cover the conference this season for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone

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